ICS wary of threat to IMO hazardous Convention
The London-based International Chamber of Shipping said Tuesday it is very concerned by rumors of a proposal to abandon the International Maritime Organization Convention on liability for incidents involving Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS).
The Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea was adopted in 1996 and establishes an international regime for HNS damage, spreading the cost between ship owners and cargo receivers.
The ICS said it fears proposals for regional regulation at the next meeting of the IMO HNS Fund Assembly set for Oct. 15-18.
“Until the convention enters into force there is a dangerous gap in global liability coverage,” the ICS said in a statement. “Imagine if the recent incident involving the grounding of containership MSC Napoli off the coast of South West England had involved a chemical tanker.
“If indeed there are technical problems with the existing HNS Convention, the sensible course of action would be for governments to ratify it as soon as possible so that it comes into force.
“Any issues could then be resolved by the HNS Fund Assembly, as has been done by the IOPC Fund Assembly to ensure the smooth operation of the highly successful CLC/Fund international oil pollution liability and compensation regime, upon which the HNS Convention is modeled.
“ICS believes it is most important that the HNS Fund Assembly resists the efforts of a small minority of governments to undermine the current arrangements which provide for a reasonable distribution of risk between ship owners and cargo receivers.
“Abandoning the previously agreed convention terms now would be an act of extreme folly.”